Frequently Asked Questions
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How is HIFU used to treat prostate cancer?
HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) is a procedure that targets the prostate using radiation-free sound waves. By using a rectal probe, the ultrasound beam is directed at the prostate and, using the energy from the HIFU, the tissue is heated and destroyed without destroying the surrounding tissue.The whole procedure is performed under spinal anesthesia and only takes 1-3 hours to complete.1
How do I know if I am a candidate for HIFU? What are the qualifications?
HIFU is ideal for treating patients with localized, early-stage prostate cancer. It is recommended that you discuss your individual history and medical records with a physician who is certified in HIFU procedures in order to confirm whether or not you could be a candidate.1
Is HIFU effective in treating prostate cancer?
According to documents filed with the FDA, after 2 years, 90.5% of patients with early-stage prostate cancer had maintained a stable PSA and their PSA values had gone down an average of 82.25% compared to the value prior to the procedure.2
What are the disadvantages of HIFU?
Since the HIFU prostate treatment received FDA clearance in 2015, the Ablatherm® HIFU treatment is not yet available in all areas, and treatment may require travel. Also not side effects below.
Preparing for Treatment
I’m taking hormone therapy. Do I still qualify?
Yes, you would still qualify.1
Are there any drugs that I should stop taking before treatment?
Your doctor will advise you on preparing for treatment, but generally, these drugs should be avoided:
- Blood thinners including low dose aspirin will be discontinued seven to ten days before treatment:
- Plavix (Clopidogrel)
- Coumadin (Warfarin)
- Ticlid (Ticlopidine)
- Your doctor will also advise you about stopping use of herbal products and vitamins that can also have blood thinning components1
The HIFU Procedure
How long does the procedure take?
Depending on the size of your prostate, the procedure ranges from one to three hours. The urologist will map an outline of the prostate using ultrasound to locate the areas that need to be treated. Then, between 400 to 600 pulses of high intensity, focused ultrasound waves are administered to the area targeted.1
What are the side effects of HIFU?
Side effects reported by individuals who have received HIFU treatment are significant and may include:
- Ejaculation problems, including possible retrograde (internal) ejaculation
- Erectile dysfunction and/or sexual impotence
- Urinary incontinence
- Urinary frequency and burning sensation
- Rectal wall injury from probe
- Rectal Incontinence, burning sensations, and bleeding
- Prostate infection
- Need of a catheter during the weeks following treatment
- Risk of recurrence or prostate cancer spread between treatments1
Recovery After HIFU
How long will I be in the hospital?
You will be able to return home or to the hotel after about 6-7 hours following the treatment. However, your urologist will likely want to see you the day following the procedure, and sometimes the day before, requiring a two-night stay.1
Will I need medication after treatment?
You will likely be given something for pain, and your doctor will have tips for easing your discomfort following treatment.
An antibiotic will be prescribed to prevent the catheter from causing urinary tract infection.
Male enhancement medication may be prescribed to aid in healing by increasing blood flow to the area and to aid in erectile functioning.1
I understand that I have to wear a catheter post-treatment. How long must I wear a catheter?
Approximately 14 days. You will be required to be on an antibiotic during this time as there is a risk of urinary tract infection. A urinary muscle relaxant is also usually prescribed a few days before catheter removal to assist with voiding. If you experience spasms or pelvic cramping, sitting in a tub of warm water may help. If the symptoms persist, consult with your doctor.
While you will not be permitted to drive rest of the day after receiving treatment, you are permitted to drive with the catheter. This may be uncomfortable for the first couple of days.1
Do I qualify for HIFU?
Every patient is unique, so call us today so we can determine whether the minimally invasive HIFU procedure is right for you.1